Arlington, VA — With the rise in reported food allergies among students in the last 15 years, it is crucial that policymakers understand how to best prepare school personnel to deal with related health emergencies. To help with those efforts, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is launching a new initiative, in collaboration with Mylan Specialty, designed to help state boards of education as they develop student health policies regarding anaphylaxis and epinephrine auto injector access and use.
The importance of this work is highlighted by the recent tragic deaths of students who came into contact with an allergen but were unable to access an epinephrine auto injector because they did not have a prescription on file at the school. All too often, state and local laws and policies do not provide for this contingency. In life-threatening situations, this puts school nurses in an untenable situation—giving an injection and risking their nurse’s license (when, in fact, there is a nurse on staff), or anxiously hoping the paramedics will arrive in time. Even when medics do arrive, there is no guarantee they will have an epinephrine auto injector with them.
As part of its initiative, NASBE will publish an Anaphylaxis and Epinephrine Auto Injector Discussion Guide to provide a comprehensive treatment of the issue and set the stage for policy development. The guide will also aid boards and administrators at every level a tool to assist the creation of action plans and answer the questions critical to policy development.
“From bee stings to various foods, these allergens can trigger life-threatening reactions among students and it is incumbent on us as policy leaders and educators to take actions that protect these children,” said NASBE Executive Director Jim Kohlmoos. “It is essential that state and school policies ensure access to epinephrine auto injectors and training of school personnel to respond in a timely manner to students with life-threatening allergic reactions. As a leader in state-level student health policy, NASBE is uniquely positioned to provide evidence-based data to state boards as they do this important work.”
The discussion guide and related materials will be available free on NASBE’s website. At the guide’s completion in the second quarter of 2013, NASBE will host an open webinar to guide potential users on how to best utilize the discussion guide, to have questions answered by experts in the subject, and to share best practices.
The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen state boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit www.nasbe.org.